The Trojan War boiled down to a war of attrition for the ancient Greeks and the Trojans.
Duke and Troy had their own war of attrition Sunday afternoon, with it seeming as if the victor would simply be the team that had enough players left who did not foul out.
The game was sloppy, as it was plagued with turnovers, miscues and fouls from both sides. Nonetheless, the Blue Devils prevailed at Cameron Indoor Stadium, fending off the Trojans by a score of 99-85 to give themselves their first back-to-back wins of the season. Guard Miela Goodchild torched Troy, with a career-high 26 points helped by lethal perimeter efficiency.
“When your teammates find you it is your job to knock it down so my team did an awesome job of finding me and setting screens as well, so it was my job to knock it down,” said Goodchild.
After a frustrating offensive performance from Goodchild last time out, the Australian bounced back in style, draining five of eight attempts from downtown. Despite scoring just five points in the opening period, the sophomore sharpshooter once again proved that she thrives in crunch time, compiling a performance reminiscent of her shooting clinic against Notre Dame last season.
Goodchild’s second half performance was much needed for Duke, as Troy refused to throw in the towel and, at one point, threatened to take the lead. On the defensive end, Goodchild constantly sacrificed her body for loose balls and threw a wrinkle in Troy’s 3-point shooting with her perimeter closeouts.
The Blue Devils (4-2) came out at a blazing speed, shooting above 50 percent from the field and jumping to a commanding 13-point lead before Troy could collect a field goal. The Trojans (3-2) appeared to be stunned, as they struggled mightily to create offense making it seem as though Duke was going to coast to a win in this one.
The script completely flipped towards the end of the first quarter.
It was as if Troy did a Trojan Horse trick of their own, waiting for the right moment to use its true attack, but once it did, it was the Blue Devils turn to get caught off guard. The second quarter was dominated by the Trojans, who outscored Duke 23-17. Their playing style was not the prettiest nor the most conventional, but their high intensity and fast-paced offense made up for a 33.3 percent mark from the field in the first half.
Troy picked up right where it left off at the start of the third quarter, cutting the Blue Devil lead down to as little as four. Thanks to several gutsy plays by Goodchild, including a clutch shot from the land of plenty, Duke extended its lead back to double-digits going into the final quarter.
“It is just about keeping poise. We know our basketball and we did not want to play their game,” Goodchild said. “It was just focusing on doing our thing, running our plays, getting stops on defense, and then when the shots were open, knocking them down.”
The Trojans made it clear early on that their game plan entailed launching 3-pointers and crashing the boards, regardless of how efficient their attempts were. As the game progressed, Troy established a more prevalent interior presence, slowly incorporating more post play and beginning to drive to the hoop.
Get Overtime, all Duke athletics
Signup for our editorially curated, weekly newsletter. Cancel at any time.
Heading into this contest, the Blue Devils knew they would have their work cut out for them on the boards with Troy leading the nation in offensive rebounding. The Trojans showed how they got to the top of that list, playing physical in the paint all afternoon, yet Duke bested them on the boards, out rebounding Troy 49-41.
“I am very proud of our team and very proud of the rebounding in particular,” said Duke head coach Joanne P. McCallie. “To me the story of this game is keeping them about nine points below their offensive rebounding average.”
The Blue Devils will welcome another nonconference opponent in Davidson Wednesday and will be looking to extend their win-streak to three.